Why Yes…I Do Want To Do Things Differently in 2024

Happy New Year's 2024. Used under Creative Commons.

Dearest reader…especially those who have been with me here for a while…can I just tell you that 2023 has been a crazy experience?

I feel oddly reminiscent of when I wrote about the change of decade in 2020. I wrote a post so full of meaningful reflection and optimism, only to go falling with the rest of the world headlong into a generation-defining event. In a somewhat similar way, I journaled about New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of 2023, and the year began perfectly fine. Then, as fear about the economy shifted, I was laid off from my job, as were many of my colleagues. Needless to say, the summer was tumultuous as a result. In the middle of this, we switched the kiddos to a new school and we began attending a new faith community in a city that we had only moved to a little over a year prior.

A little change is a good thing. Too much is chaos.

The strange thing is that I’m not sure I would have had many of these things go differently, because I experienced a great deal of life change and personal growth through that trying time period this summer. I also truly experienced the depth of Romans 8:28 is a manner that I’m not sure I ever had before, in that, after scrambling to find employment and all of the panic that went with that experience, I ultimately ended up with what could quite possibly be the best job that I’ve ever held. I feel as though work holds its proper place in my life, and only its proper place, in a position that I find fulfilling. In short, I couldn’t be happier with that part of my life.

“All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Julian of Norwich

All of that to say, while there is now a happy ending, life was strictly about survival for a bit of this year…thus the notable absence of writing here.

So tonight, as the Christmas lights on the outside of our home are illuminated for the final time of the season and I watch the clock tick down to 2024, I’m remembering the New Year’s resolutions that I made for this year, and how many of them received no attention because life got in the way. And, I’m debating whether or not making such resolutions is really just an exercise in futility, if I’m to be honest.

Still, there were good intentions there, and some of them I want to keep in 2024. I still want to watch less and read more, as well as writing more…here, finishing my novel, as well as other ventures. I have the time and the mental space to do that now, which is such a gift that I don’t intend to waste.

I want to re-establish contact with old friends from the before times (I plan to post about what I mean by that soon). When I dropped most social media, I didn’t think through how to maintain contact, and so I’m leaning heavily on my contacts application and hoping that a lot of those details haven’t changed for people.

I feel incredibly optimistic about 2024. I have learned and grown this year, and have emerged both with a newfound perspective on what’s important, and with the space in my life to work on implementing what I’ve learned. We can’t know what lies ahead…I know many who are filled with pessimism about the upcoming year, which is an easy state in which to arrive if you read more than a few minutes of news. I’m holding out hope, though.

My friend, I don’t know what 2023 held for you, or what 2024 will hold. I pray it’s all working out for the best for you. I’d love to hear from you about how it’s going. Please keep in touch, and I’m planning for more space for conversation here in the coming year.

Here’s to 2024!

Image attribution: Carol VanHook under Creative Commons.

2010 – A Decade in Review

I actually intended to post this prior to the new year, but the holidays were hectic and I’m only now sitting down to my keyboard. As we moved through Advent and into the Christmas season this year, I was largely oblivious to the fact that January 1 would not only roll over a new year on our calendar, but a new decade. I usually go about setting at least cursory new year’s resolutions for myself (I’m still deciding what this year’s will be)…well, except for one year when Karen and I were entirely oblivious to the fact that it was even New Year’s Eve…but a new decade seems much more significant when you think about it. Then, I read another blogger’s post in which he recapped the decade, and began thinking about just how much has occurred in our life over the course of ten years. So, inspired to do the same, here’s a glimpse into what the decade of 2010 held for us. It’s no exaggeration to say that it was life-altering.


Karen and I were “living the dream” in 2010. We were four years into our marriage, young professionals in a nice apartment in the city where we met in grad school. Karen had moved away from teaching middle and high school and was a professor, and I was writing while not in my day job in the non-profit world. We did theatre together. Not everything was perfect – not by any stretch. And certainly we were spread thin financially at times. But I look back on those days now, with the freedom and creativity that we had, and I miss them.

Me and Karen, living the dream


Our oldest daughter joined us unexpectedly in 2011. We were in labor for 24 hours prior to a C-section delivery. Our friends were praying for us, Karen’s mother came and stayed with us for nearly a month. I remember how my world changed – I literally saw things differently when Karen told me that we were expecting – and how speechless and stupid I felt when my daughter’s cries first echoed from the delivery room walls. The night before we went to the hospital, I remember sitting in our living room with Karen and her mom and reading Salinger out loud because we chose one of our daughter’s middle names from his story, “For Esme, with Love and Squalor.”

It's a Girl! A balloon from our first baby shower.


My focus shifted from writing (I still haven’t finished the novel with which I was so nearly finished when our first daughter was born) to the web. As I was pushed out of my first career as a result of legislative changes, I began to make my hobby into a living. With our daughter only just a year old, we moved to New England so that I could return to school in Boston. We had determined that there are two types of education: really cool education in things that matter, and education that earns a living. We both had a lot of the first, not as much of the second. The goal was to remedy that situation.


One of the high points of our life in New England was a job that I had with a group that used theatre programming as a treatment modality for adolescents who were on the spectrum. I lead a team of other clinicians, and this became my ministry. I loved every second of that job…I couldn’t wait to go to work. I have missed it painfully ever since.

2014 – 2015

It was surprisingly more difficult to rebound in my new career in New England than we had anticipated. The company I was with wasn’t working out, and we needed some freedom. We packed our lives once more and moved into a house that we still owned in North Carolina. We would spend the next two years fixing up that house and getting it ready to sell while I was freelancing and Karen was teaching as an adjunct. Our daughter was just coming out of her love for Thomas the Train and moving into Wild Kratts (animals are still her fascination). These were great years for me professionally, but I lost so much focus spiritually. I longed to be as firm in my faith as I was when I was in seminary, but I was working such long weeks. My relationship with our daughter was strained during this critical time, as well. As successful as I was professionally in those years, I wish I could go back and reclaim some of that lost time.

Interest in Daddy's work


Surprise! Our second daughter joined us unexpectedly (see a pattern here?). A highlight of this time was having both sets of parents with us, overlapping for a few days, to help with the baby, all together in our home. As stressful as it was (you’d think that we would have a grip on things having had one child already), having our family together was priceless. We had been praying to return to New England during this time also, and, shortly after our second daughter was born, I received a sudden offer from a company in Boston that was just what we were looking for. So, with our new daughter not quite a year old (seriously, do you see a pattern?), we packed and moved in a month, back to New England.


Along with getting used to winters here again, we also began to get some answers to our oldest daughter’s academic struggles. The diagnosis of Nonverbal Learning Disability answers so many things, but has been so difficult to absorb. We’ve entered the new decade attempting to navigate this, with all of the logistical, financial, and emotional difficulties that it brings. Before I set those New Year’s resolutions, my goal for the new decade is that our daughter is equipped with what she needs to have a successful and happy life, and that we are able to grow into being the parents that she deserves. I love that little girl so much, and previous resolutions seem so empty now….

On New Year’s eve, Karen and I watched a movie. She fell asleep on the sofa, and I poured a glass of wine and did something that I hadn’t done in many years…I watched the ball drop. I used to be into this tradition, and it seemed so flippant now. I feel my age, more weary than I should feel at times, and, to paraphrase a Wall Flowers song, I haven’t changed, but I know I’m not the same.

I hope that your new year…and your new decade…is blessed in whatever life sends your way. Who knows what adventures I’ll be able to write about in 2030? Time will tell…

2014? When Did That Happen?

Remember some time ago when I talked about how I needed a marker for when one year passed to the next?

The last hours of 2013 were marked by sitting on the sofa with Karen after our daughter was in bed, watching a movie that we have seen numerous times (the fact that it was one of the original Bourne films, it occurs to me, is perhaps ironic considering I reviewed the latest film in the series soon after New Year’s Day in 2013), and allowing maintenance staff for our apartment building in and out in order to coordinate some sort of repair involving a sink and backed-up water in the apartment below us.

I realized that it was 2014 as some fireworks went off outside (New Hampshire is apparently really, really into fireworks). Then I went back to reading as the movie concluded. And, that was pretty much it. No ball dropping, Karen had gone to bed already, no family, no celebrating. Me, a movie, and a good book.

So…I’m old, I guess.

Or, maybe just tired. The thing is, I’m sort of sad that I didn’t really mark the passing of one year to the next, because there’s much to be said for the observance of new beginnings, if for no other reason than the power of hope and possibility. I’m certainly the poorer for not marking that somehow this year. I think that much of the reason is because Karen and I are still settling back into life after an insanely chaotic year of being a full-time student, followed by a career shift that has taken every spare second of my time, it seems, for the eight months following school. The proverbial dust is settling now, however, and I’m already making strides toward the new year. How do I know? I bought a book today, and I read this evening. I haven’t had time to sit down with a novel in…well, I don’t want to contemplate how long it’s been, and I was beginning to come a little unglued over it. I feel as though I’ve become re-acquainted with an old friend. I also see writing time in my future…like actual writing time to finish the novel that I began before our daughter was born and that I’ve put on hold for a year now.

All of these things together would, I’m sure, mark some sort of progress in the goals that I wrote about last year. I’ll let you go back and look at those and make that judgement if you feel so inclined. I’m going to just roll with things this year, as it’s been disconnected anyway. I know, however, that 2014 is going to bring great things.

I know it.

May your endeavors meet with success and your life be blessed in the 364 days ahead.

And next year, I’m going to be more intentional about this.

Waking to the New Year

Last night, with a quiet dinner, family, and a glass of wine, Karen and I relaxed as children played around us and the countdown to 2013 went on. The children were in bed by 9:00, the adults were soon in front of a movie (review to come…) and someone in the house was streaming some ball-dropping-coverage from Times Square. I made it a point to at least stay up to see that, because, as I determined last year, I needed some sort of marker in order to recognize the passing of one year into the next.

Of course, by 12:15, I was sound asleep. As I’ve said before…ah, parenthood.

Last year around this time, I put up a post about my goals for 2012. I’ve made some progress on most, less on some than others. In order to keep myself in check, here are my various states of progress:

1. I am in the process of changing careers for my day job. This was partly a need for a more creative outlet, and partly the need to be in a better position to meet family obligations. I’m attending an arts school for a quick technology certification that will be finished in May, at which point I will making a living in the world of the web and all of that snazzy code-writing that happens in the background. To that end, I’ll probably be brushing up some visual aesthetics around here, and I’ll be launching a page that will direct to all of my various adventures soon, and that will ultimately be my official author site when I finish this novel.

2. Speaking of the novel. I had a spurt of progress just as winter set in, during which I completed all but the most final section. That final section lives in outline form, so that all I have to do now is actually write it, which will bring me to the completion of my rough draft. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been working on Part II for a year now, and the entire project for over two, but it’s been a learning process as I’ve never written anything this long before, and I’m discovering just how much work goes into it.

3. I haven’t read nearly as much as I like, mostly because I’m a full-time student again, and so my reading is reading for class, not so much for pleasure. My two-books monthly rhythm has digressed into one novel per semester at my current rate, but, as I said, I’ll be finished in May. Until then, my to-read list keeps piling higher with each visit to Barnes & Noble.

4. Time for family has become a priority in that it’s such a precious commodity right now. That’s kept me from doing other things, but it’s been worth it. Comparing photos of our daughter from a year ago to where she is now takes my breath and makes my mind reel in disbelief at times.

Oh, and we moved to New England. I’m finding myself sorely in need of better gear in order to deal with these winters, but it’s a nice cultural change.

So, what does 2013 hold? The career change, firstly. I’m also determined to complete this novel and at least make serious editing progress to get it into the hands of beta-readers this year. Also, there are some side projects that have presented themselves to my word-smithing brain, and I’m hoping to dive into those, as well.

I wish you, my faithful readers, the best success and the most happiness in 2013. Let’s go on some adventures together…